27 votes
Accepted

When did the half-step/whole-step modulation in the middle of a song become popular?

The modulation you describe is often mockingly called the "Truck Driver Gear Change". As you say, it is quite often used, to the point of being cliche. It has it's own page on TVTropes. At one time, ...
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24 votes

With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?

In principle, the answer is yes, with software instruments it is feasible to (re-)set the tuning so that you can realize music with modulation that stays in just intonation across these changes. The ...
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23 votes

How many types of modulation are there?

This is just an expansion of BlakeTM's answer, included because StackExchange communities typically discourage answering a question (or in this case, a comment) by referring to a link and nothing more....
21 votes
Accepted

modulating from G major to G# major

Any readers may thank you more if the new key becomes Ab. Ab has only 4 flats in it, whereas G# has 8 sharps. The simplest, which always works, pretty well whichever key you're changing into, is to ...
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17 votes

With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?

You cannot even realize "just temperament" reliably when you are working with continuous-tone instruments like singers and trombones. Take a look at even something as old as J.S. Bach's mass in B ...
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16 votes
Accepted

Chopin Polonaise in Ab major, op 53 change in key

You're exactly right! It's technically a motion to ♭VI, which would be F♭ major. But in order to make it easier to read, he spells it in E major (♯V). F♭ isn't in A♭ major, but it is in A♭ minor; ...
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16 votes

Can the same song be written in a minor key and major key with the progression written differently?

The scale/chords are good clues to the key of a song, but at least as important is the tonal center. That's not as easy to define but generally it's where the song comes back to a place of less ...
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13 votes

With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?

It's a bit more complicated than may appear at first glance. Within a single key, if Just Intonation makes the I,IV, and V chords all (4,5,6) ratios, the ii chord will be off. The other question is ...
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13 votes

"Punning chord"

Great question; this is a particularly clever part of music theory! Here's a nice little example in F major; it's just a I--V7--I progression with a little cadential six-four thrown in there just ...
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12 votes

What's the exact difference between modulation, key change and tonicisation?

I think your intuition is mostly correct when it comes to modulation. I would make only one small adjustment: most scholarship tends to view a change in tonic as different from a change in mode. In ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How to identify key changes?

What you mean is not a change of scale, but rather a change of key. A change of key is called a modulation. Modulation is usually established by a full cadence into the new key. If a piece in G major ...
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11 votes

With modern electronic technology is temperament unnecessary?

"just intonation better than equal temperament" Judgement call there. When instruments are slightly off perfect ratios, there can be very appealing beating and chorus effects. Piano strings are ...
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11 votes

Why isn't there a closely related key to C minor that has D as tonic?

Closely related keys are keys with key signatures within one accidental of each other. Find the number of accidentals in the given key signature, then find the keys that have that same number (and ...
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10 votes

How is a chord progression with G#, D#m, F and G possible?

The song could be on G# major; It would be easier to say it's in Ab major scale. These two are the same scale and they are called Enharmonic scales. (I'm using Ab because it is more common and easier ...
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10 votes
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How to modulate very smoothly and stealthily from major to minor?

Within a minimalist sort of setting, one approach I might take would be to boil things down to just the root or root and fifth. If you have a long enough period of time where you don't have a third ...
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9 votes

How many types of modulation are there?

There are 9 types: Diatonic Common Chord Altered Common Chord Enharmonic Modulation using Mm7 Chord Deceptive Cadence Enharmonic Modulation using °7 Chord Diminished7 -> Major-minor7 Chromatic ...
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9 votes

modulating by a tritone

A very traditional way would be to pivot from a Neapolitan sixth chord (bII6) in your first key to V6 in your second key. For instance, in C major, you'd have a first inversion Db major (this is your ...
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9 votes

modulating from G major to G# major

Just jumping up the key up a semitone without a chord progression to lead into the modulation is a very common musical trope! Simply change the key signature in-between two major sections of a song, ...
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9 votes

If parallel keys aren't closely related, then why are they so easy to get to?

Closely related keys are keys that have at most one accidental difference. So the set of notes inside the key are almost identical (or identical in the case of relative major/minor keys). You can get ...
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9 votes
Accepted

What type of modulation goes from D♭ to A?

By definition, a modulation must reach a cadence in the new key. Since there is no cadence on B♭♭ here, it's technically incorrect to call this a modulation. Instead, he's simply using a B♭♭ chord ...
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9 votes

Theories on what key to modulate to

There are two broad categories. Modulation to closely related keys - 'keeping it in the family'. And modulation to more distant keys for contrast. The first kind include modulation to the dominant, ...
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8 votes
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What are some effective ways to use a key change during a song?

There really isn't a set of rules a composer/songwriter is bound by. Modulation has a certain effect like anything else at times may be desired and at others may be undesired. It is up to the composer/...
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8 votes

When did the half-step/whole-step modulation in the middle of a song become popular?

Although I already provided a lengthy answer for this question which got accepted, I've never quite been satisfied with how it addressed the origin of the technique. I merely quote a passage from a ...
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8 votes

What intervals are common for sudden key changes?

It depends on what genre you're looking at, but here are a few other quick ways: Down a minor third. This is often done by way of a "common tone modulation," where a pitch (or two) are held over into ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Can I use the German sixth chord to modulate to another key?

All of these answers are correct, but I thought it would be helpful to the OP (and hopefully future readers) to give some clear examples. The above example is just a clear use of a German augmented ...
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8 votes

Why does G-Major work well within a C-Minor progression?

The G major chord is the "usual" dominant in the key of C minor. The harmonic point is the half-step approach to the note C from B. It is extremely common. As a side note, often, when a ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Can you tonicize to a chord that's not on the original key?

Can you tonicize to a chord that's not on the original key? Absolutely. This is not only "allowed", but commonplace, especially by the time Chopin was composing. One of the compositional ...
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7 votes

Key Changing in a Song?

First of all, I do not think that there are keys that "do not work well together". There are just better or worse ways to make a transition from one key to another. Obviously, there are keys that are ...
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7 votes

How to make a chord progress go from the key of C major to the key of A minor?

There's lots of ways to do it! No single way is necessarily the right way. Your progression certainly works, and you're right that preceding the Am chord with its dominant (either an E or an E7) is ...
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